States with Medical Cannabis Programs are Leading the Charge against Opiates
Medical cannabis programs are rising in popularity throughout the United States. In addition to a wide variety of health benefits and disease treatments, cannabis can aid many people in addiction recovery from other drugs like cigarettes or opioid. As the research of medical marijuana grows, more and more studies are showing the life-changing effects of marijuana, and the effect cannabis has on the lives of opioid addicts.
The Spread of Opioid Abuse
Between 1999 and 2010, opioid sales and corresponding opioid overdose death numbers quadrupled. The opioid addiction epidemic is a very real problem, with almost 44 people dying every day from opioid overdose alone. Over 7,000 people are treated in hospitals for opioid misuse every day. The American population's dependency on opioids is only growing, with America consuming over 80% of the world's opiates, and healthcare professionals offering no alternatives because of marijuana's illegal status. Many other developed countries like Britain and Germany have assimilated marijuana into their healthcare system, researching better ways to use the plant to decrease dependency on unhealthy drugs like opioids.
Alternative Treatment Benefits
While medical marijuana remains illegal, there is not much doctors can do. If a patient has become immune to the current dosage of opiates, then they will generally increase the dosage to ensure a patient does not experience pain. However, in Maryland and other states with medical cannabis programs, healthcare professionals can combine the effects of marijuana with opioids to lower the dependency upon the opioids, as well as increasing the effectiveness. By using marijuana alongside the addictive drug, medical professionals are decreasing tolerance to the opioid treatment and are putting more distance between patient's prescription dosage and the opioid overdose amount.
In a 2015 review from the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers reviewed and analyzed several studies of opioid usage to reduce chronic pain; the authors could not find any study that showed definitive results of a lower pain experience or opioids as a long term, effective treatment. However, the researchers did find the opioid treatment to be connected to overdose, fractures, heart attacks, and sexual dysfunction in patients. Comparatively, the American Academy of Neurology reported that cannabis can treat chronic pain in multiple sclerosis patients, earning their study a highly respected evidence level based on their in-depth research and support. As cannabis becomes more and more common medically, the amount of research of different methods and strains will grow, bringing with them new discoveries and methods for a healthier lifestyle.
Whether cannabis is used in combination with opioids or as its own effective treatment, studies are continuously showing the many benefits of medical marijuana. As Maryland has legalized medical marijuana, residents and non-residents now have the option of a safer, effective treatment that can relieve pain without the fear of dependency or addiction. In addition, cannabis can help those patients who have an addiction or dependency to other pain medication. Patients looking to start their medical marijuana treatment should speak to their doctor about registering as a marijuana certified patient and search for nearby dispensaries to expand their treatment options.
Greenhouse Wellness is a Maryland medical marijuana dispensary that emphasizes improving and healing people's lives through cannabis. To join in restoring your personal health, begin your medical marijuana journey at Greenhouse Wellness today.